Using a New Cenozoic Glacial History Paradigm to Explain Saline-Smoky Hill River Drainage Divide Area Topographic Map Evidence: Kansas, USA

  •  Eric Clausen    


A recently proposed glacial history paradigm (new paradigm) explains previously ignored Saline-Smoky Hill River drainage divide area topographic map drainage system and erosional landform evidence by headward erosion of the east-oriented Saline River valley across large and prolonged south-oriented meltwater floods which flowed in complexes of closely-spaced anastomosing channels. The eastward sloping drainage divide extends from the Saline River’s western Kansas headwaters between the Saline River (north) and the Smoky Hill River (south) until in central Kansas the Smoky Hill River turns in a southeast and then north direction to join the Saline River with their combined flow continuing as the Smoky Hill River in an east direction to join the Republican River with the combined flow then becoming the Kansas River. Evidence for closely-spaced south-oriented anastomosing channels consists of previously undescribed low points (divide crossings) which are found along the drainage divide and which link north-oriented Saline River tributaries with south-oriented Smoky Hill River tributaries. Evidence that Saline River valley headward erosion beheaded and reversed south-oriented anastomosing channels also consists of the numerous low points along the drainage divide and of barbed tributaries to the now north-oriented Saline River tributaries which suggest large south-oriented meltwater floods extended much further west than commonly accepted glacial history interpretations permit. The topographic map evidence is consistent with the new paradigm interpretation that a thick continental icesheet by its weight and by deep erosion created and occupied a deep “hole” as massive south-oriented meltwater floods flowed across the rising deep “hole” rim until the deep “hole” rim uplift diverted the floodwaters toward what became the deep “hole’s” only remaining southern outlet (the Mississippi River valley).

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.